Description   Audio amplifier chips are used in circuits used to process audio signals.   Operation Classes

Class A devices feature a design in which the output stage passes current at all times, even when the input stage is idle.   Class B devices do not pass current when the output device is idle.   Class AB audio amplifier chips combine Class A and Class B operation.   Class C designs are used for radio frequency (RF) transmission.   Class D...
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Q & A on Audio Amplifier Chips

We asked our users for their input on Audio Amplifier Chips. Here are the results of 133 users familiar with Audio Amplifier Chips.

Who Took Our Poll? | Design Trends | Applications and Use | Features | Buying Advice |

Who Took Our Poll?Top

Design TrendsTop

Q:
What new technologies are influencing audio amplifier chip design?
21 answers
Answers:
Whatever it takes to get low standby power, class D, low imp spkrs, good thermal performance. = Sometimes just good design.
~Stuart B, Design Engineer, Christchurch, New Zealand
AV out: G and H class. Bluetooth integration and pairing with NFC easily in amp chip will be under study.
~Jouni L, Research & Development, Vantaa, Finland
Class D is influencing the audio IC's, although I still prefer the traditional Class AB.
~Kyle F, Design Engineer, Danbury, CT
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Q:
From your perspective, which companies are creating the most innovative audio amplifier chips?
17 answers
Answers:
I buy most of my audio IC's from ST Microelectronics and National Semiconductor for reason of having the most simplistic application design, fewer pin count, and highly rated sound quality, as been noted on audio DIY forums.
~Kyle F, Design Engineer, Danbury, CT
TI, ADI, National and Maxim have a good set of chips, but I miss PMI and SSM, although their legacy is still there. But small companies, say, that Engineers, etc, also have some nice products.
~Erik M, Research & Development, Ljubljana, Slovenia
Many suppliers for Nokia, but according to our sourcing policy we must use 1st our present ones for their and/or our ideas.
~Jouni L, Research & Development, Vantaa, Finland
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Applications and UseTop

Q:
What are some of the applications you have used audio amplifier chips for?
37 answers
Answers:
As an electronic serviceman,my hobby is to build electronic gadget especially audio amplifiers one example is the STK463 2x25W as stereo amp. Others are bridge Amp, motor control, light control, water level monitor, a laser amp, communication buffer and some other remote control amp.
~Technical Support/Services, Manila, Philippines
Used mostly audio-specific op-amps as low-noise input stages for various instrumentation needs, from medical to particle physics detector applications. Occasionally used them also for audio.
~Erik M, Research & Development, Ljubljana, Slovenia
Teaching at University (4th level at Universidad Tecnológica Nacional - Avellaneda - Bs.As., Argentina). Designing Audio Monitoring and level metering equipment, for TV Broadcasting market.
~Engineering, Process/Production, Llavallol, Argentina
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Q:
Please share with us any “non-standard” applications that audio amplifier chips have been used for.
16 answers
Answers:
I've used audio amplifier IC's for boosting the output power (aside from upgrading other parts such as speakers) in a tired or low output boombox, or even a laptop with low output.
~Kyle F, Design Engineer, Danbury, CT
Once I designed a wide range, low noise, pA sensitive leakage current measurement system for a highly reverse biased semiconductor detector for elementary particle counting.
~Erik M, Research & Development, Ljubljana, Slovenia
Haptic actuator driving: piezo, linear motor, DC motor with PWM, BLDC motor input driving (rare, not cost and size optimized).
~Jouni L, Research & Development, Vantaa, Finland
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Q:
Do you know of any disastrous mistakes that occurred due to the incorrect usage of audio amplifier chips?
9 answers
Answers:
If your amplifier IC says that it is rated 18V do not exceed over that thinking you will get a little more power output (watts). Doing that will result in a blown IC. Also if you are going with a dual supply please make sure to do the math. If an amplifier IC says that it requires +-18V that does not mean a +- 18V transformer is perfect. You need to go under with a transformer rated +-15V or you might risk overheating the amplifier IC.
~Kyle F, Design Engineer, Danbury, CT
The lack of a temperature heat sink on PWB is one big problem; if the amplifier is using high current and power to speaker: no operation when waiting for cool down.
~Jouni L, Research & Development, Vantaa, Finland
Replace with low cost chips, less voltage support like TDA2030 instead the TDA2050 (first supports less voltage).
~Fabio Alarcon, Production Engineer, Bogota, Colombia
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FeaturesTop

Q:
What would your design or feature "wish list" be for this product?
15 answers
Answers:
I would strive for improvements in internal IC design which will result in audiophile quality output that is as good as a fully discrete audio amplifier or better. No more shortcuts that sacrifice sound quality in order to save a few pennies on the product cost.
~Kyle F, Design Engineer, Danbury, CT
If good ext. amp will be generated, the integration to bigger MCU etc. package without EMC, ESD, temperature problems must be on mind when cheaper and high volume products will be designed with our vendors.
~Jouni L, Research & Development, Vantaa, Finland
a) low noise b) low distortion, high linearity c) wide bandwidth but I'd love to see a +/-50V supply audio-grade op-amp!
~Erik M, Research & Development, Ljubljana, Slovenia
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Buying AdviceTop

Q:
Do you have any advice for people relative to buying or using audio amplifier chips?
11 answers
Answers:
More clear application solution drawings and kits should be available to realize possibilities for utilizing those in practice. For example existing IHF output is driving low current ext DC boosted amplifier input: loss of money and space; thus I2S or relevant audio signal possibilities must be taken into account in amp chip and engine side.
~Jouni L, Research & Development, Vantaa, Finland
Make sure to select an amplifier IC that not only matches your power supply voltage range, also make sure to fine the one that has an application circuit that is within your skill level.
~Kyle F, Design Engineer, Danbury, CT
Use highest quality parts possible (within reason) in the signal path. STUDY, STUDY, STUDY. Every time I find a new chip amp web-site, I learn something new.
~Dave N, Purchaser, Louisville, KY
If they used audio amplifier chips they can save money because chips are cheap to buy and easy to assemble with only few external components.
~Ranulfo Y, Technical Support, Cebu city, Philippines
Be careful because there are a lot of piracy chips.
~Fabio Alarcon, Production Engineer, Bogota, Colombia
Look at the specs, then the price.
~Erik M, Research & Development, Ljubljana, Slovenia
Always read the datasheet first.
~Kamarul Azman K, Research & Development, Ipoh, Malaysia
Use real digital inputs.
~Engineering, Design, Pierrelatte, France
Care when paralleling.
~Joachim G, Design Engineer, Brilon, Germany
Research the market.
~Pieter S, Retired engineer, Johannesburg, South Africa
Depend on the design, don't have specific advice.
~Engineering, Consulting, Rishon Lezion, Israel

Q:
Is there any advice you want to share with users to help them avoid common errors in selection or usage of audio amplifier chips?
7 answers
Answers:
The PWB design GL taking into account high PWM frequencies (EMC) and thermal design + clarification for error behaviors. The SNR requirements for +/- 15 bit audio is not clear to decision makers because the need for high SNR ratio makes problems in theory + AES17 CCIR weighed SNR std versus older A-weighting SNR measurement method. So, the clear understanding why the CCIR must be used and possible both methods could be specified before program target setting. Must know the variation of loads e.g. in AVout headsets like 16 or 32 Ohms and influence to performance in the solution.
~Jouni L, Research & Development, Vantaa, Finland
Make sure to ALWAYS use proper heat sinking methods. Sometimes it helps to think of the amplifier IC as a computer CPU. Using the best thermal paste and heat sinks definitely help. Lastly, if you are going with a heat sink that uses natural convection (not fan cooled) make sure that the heat sink fins are placed vertical, not horizontal.
~Kyle F, Design Engineer, Danbury, CT
Bad layout practice, inappropriate grounding and shielding and the source-amplifier impedance mismatch in terms of noise are the most common errors, chip selection is secondary.
~Erik M, Research & Development, Ljubljana, Slovenia
At a minimum, at least heat sink the device to the case. Make sure all paths on the circuit board are defect free. Check the circuit three times before firing it up.
~Dave N, Purchaser, Louisville, KY
Select the amplifier according with power output and impedance to use. Buy the chips from original companies, of resellers.
~Fabio Alarcon, Production Engineer, Bogota, Colombia
They must check first the chips data to meet their needs.
~Ranulfo Y, Technical Support, Cebu city, Philippines
Use datasheet as a guide.
~Kamarul Azman K, Research & Development, Ipoh, Malaysia

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